By Pauline van Mourik Broekman, 10 September 1997

Just like one of its most notorious representatives, the cyborg, cyberfeminism is many things to many people. Arguing its coherence as a movement would do it little justice as it is by nature and intent diverse, mutable and eternally incomplete. Its most defining characteristic is a willingness to unthink traditional dualisms; between man and woman, nature and culture, and technology and the human so as to try and formulate a radically new ontology for both humans and nonhumans. Since they both exacerbate and challenge oppressive systems, accelerating technological, economic and biological changes are both its friend and foe.

Preferring construction to deconstruction, cyberfeminism moves constantly between the 'reading' of popular culture and the 'writing' of it. Subversive offshoots of science fiction have provided inspiration through their daring reformulations of identity, reproduction and social organisation - the cultural operating systems cyberfeminists seek to recode. Aggressively playful, wilfully ironic, cyberfeminism takes its inspiration and material from wherever it can - with the rich, contradictory and often hateful pickings of popular culture occupying a special place in its heart.

In an era where the loss of traditional humanist values is being lamented by the mainstream, cyberfeminism asks what they meant in the first place. To coincide with our review of Donna Haraway's Modest_Witness@Second_Millennium, we make one of many possible inroads in which Josephine Bosma, Faith Wilding, Sue Thomas, Caroline Bassett and Josephine Berry ask: "Where does she want to go today?"

Pauline van Mourik Broekman <pauline AT>